A Proactive Use for Your Dog’s Health Calendar

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I have calendars that are dedicated for noting things about my pets’ health. Time and time again they have come in handy when trying to investigate an abnormal condition. In recent months, notes on the calendar (and the clipped-out ingredients lists from their food labels, taped to the dates that I opened the bags of food) helped me put it together that Tito’s stool get loose every time I feed him a food that contains lamb, and that Otto is reluctant to eat foods that contain any fish or fish oil (probably due to oxidation in the fragile fish oils). Someday, I hope to be smart enough to use them to ANTICIPATE problems that arise annually.

In recent weeks, Otto has been licking and chewing himself more than usual. I told him to “knock it off!” several times without thinking much about it, before I finally thought to check him for fleas. I didn’t find a single flea – not on him, nor on Tito nor the cats. Huh, I thought. That’s as far as my thoughts went.

Today I was going back through some old blog posts, looking for a reference to something I had written about a couple of years ago, when I saw a blog post I wrote on March 22, 2011.  It was about spring allergies in dogs. In it, I mentioned that Otto had been licking and chewing himself – severe itching is the most common symptom of allergies in dogs – and that the pollen counts were off the charts.

I grabbed the 2012 calendar dedicated to notes on Otto and Tito (the cats have a separate one). There it is, on March 11: “Otto licking/chewing daily.”

Okay, three years in a row? Otto starts licking and chewing in March? Ya think maybe I could use this trend and start being proactive rather than reactive? In early March each year, I could start bathing him more frequently (or at least wiping his coat several times daily with a damp towel), and making him sleep inside (slightly more protected from the veritable rain of pollen that is coating our deck right now). I could also dose him with some mild antihistamines on bad pollen days (like I do for my own spring allergies).

Thank goodness for online calendars: I’m setting up an alarm for March 1, 2014. “Consider Otto’s spring allergies.”

Does your dog suffer from any annual or seasonal conditions? 

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